by Sister Ann Marie Emon
A couple of weeks ago I attended the ground breaking ceremony for the new expansion project at the Thomas Wernert Center in Toledo. The mission of the Wernert Center is “to improve the quality of life for persons living with mental illness through peer-driven and focused programs which address recovery through education, advocacy and support.” I am lucky enough to work at the Center. At the day of ground breaking there was a feeling of great pride among us. The ceremony began with a board member leading us in prayer along with speeches by the Mental Health Recovery Services Board of Lucas County, the Co-director, for Wernert Center, the Board of Trustees member and the Director of our programs all echoed the sense of pride that we shared. It was also another way to publically eradicate the stigma of mental illness.
After the ceremony punch and cookies were served in our main building. The staff members served the guests. While I was back in the kitchen I felt a real sense of family among all of us. I am so grateful to be a part of the Wernert Center’s family. I too live with a chronic mental illness called bipolar disorder. Part of managing my bipolar disorder is to have supportive people who are for me at any time I need them. I have an incredible amount of people who love me and care about me from my family and friends, my Sisters in community and our Wernert Center family.
I work in the computer lab at the Wernert Center twice a week. Last week two members and I read an article regarding lack of sleep. It was called “The AB-Z’s On Sleep and Bipolar”. Stephen Propsts is the author. We took turns reading the article and then we read people’s comments of how grateful they were for the advice given. We shared our own experiences of frustration with not being able to get a good night’s sleep. For me the depth of our sharing was a privilege. There is a trust among us. Earlier one of our members prayed Psalm 34:19 that gave meaning to our struggles with depression. We prayed, Our God is close to the brokenhearted; those who are crushed in Spirit God saves.” Lack of sleep and depression don’t work very well together. Being a part of the Wernert Center’s loving family does work.